A few days back, a marine pilot safely ejected from his F-35B fighter jet near Charleston, South Carolina. However, the jet’s whereabouts remain a mystery. This incident has triggered discussions on the social media platform ‘X’, previously known as Twitter.
The jet’s disappearance might be attributed to its technical design, according to some experts. Search efforts are currently underway in the vicinity of Lake Moultrie, Lake Marion, and Joint Base Charleston. The pilot was able to land safely near Charleston International Airport.
Public assistance in locating the F-35 has been requested by Joint Base Charleston. They have provided a contact number for the Base Defense Operations Center for any potential leads. Lockheed Martin, the contractor for the F-35, is aware of the situation and is assisting with the investigation.
The F-35B’s stealth capabilities make it challenging to locate. The exact location of the jet is still unknown, and there are speculations about the autopilot being activated after the pilot ejected. However, a spokesperson from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort did not confirm this theory.
If the F-35 continued to fly via autopilot, it would likely be out of fuel by now, as per analyst JJ Gertler from the Teal Group. He also mentioned that the jet’s aerodynamics could have been affected by the removal of the airplane’s canopy and potential damage from the pilot’s emergency exit.
The aircraft’s advanced vertical takeoff and landing capability was highlighted by Gertler. He believes that if the jet was hovering, the wreckage would have been near the ejection site. However, this was not the case.
The situation was further complicated by a report from The Washington Post stating that the aircraft’s transponder was not working. Gertler suggested that if the jet crashed after takeoff at a low altitude, the transponder should have been operational.
Despite detailed explanations, some officials still have questions about this unusual event. House Republican Representative Nancy Mace from parts of Charleston publicly voiced her question about how an F-35 could be lost and whether a civilian might find and return a jet.